Friday, November 18, 2022

Hurrah for the Final Girl! Get Bloody With Don't Fear the Reaper.

 Thanks to Stephen Graham Jones I have the song, Don't Fear the Reaper, stuck in my head. And a desire for more cowbell.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. People die in all sorts of weird postures and from all kinds of pointy instruments. What's the point of all this? The killer is copying every single slasher movie that's been made and doing it in blinding snow. You have to admire a killer who doesn't get cold feet. 

But who is this stabbing and slicing killer? Only a young woman with encyclopedic knowledge of slasher films can figure out the answer. In addition to a slasher, there are underwater ghosts, a blob, and an elk with a really bad attitude. It's also a story of friendship, families, redemption, and lots of broken glass.

Readers might want to read or reread My Heart is a Chainsaw. I hadn't read it in a while, so I was occasionally wondering who or what something was.

Don't Fear the Reaper combines gore with a literary style, making it more than the average horror story. Take a stab at reading it.

Thank you to Saga Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review Don't Fear the Reaper even if I can't get that song out of my mind.

For a while I didn't realize that was a hook. I thought an electrical cord was threaded through the wall.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Don't You Just Hate It When Visiting Relative Won't Leave? A Review of Motherthing

 Mothering is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy. Bad things and sad things happen, but all and all it is a clever, witty story. Some lines were so funny that I laughed out loud while reading. There was one big twist I never saw coming. The things we do for love....

Poor Abby had a brutal childhood, finally found love, only to be haunted by her crabby, dead mother-in-law. When I read ghost stories, I wonder if these are ghosts or mental illness. Motherthing has both going on. The way Abby breaks the haunting is not the normal way of doing things. (If there is a normal way of getting rid of a ghost.)

We have some blood, vomit, and chewed up bread getting caught in Abby's hair. The spraying bread gagged me out more than the blood, but that's the way I am.

Thanks to Netgalley and Vintage for allowing me to read, review, and gag over soggy bread in Motherthing.

What a great cover!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Don't drink that! Aw, she went and did it again. Review of Such Pretty Flowers

 I wanted to see if roses really would drink blood. Unfortunately, I passed out before the experiment was completed. No, I didn't!

We do have some blood-drinking roses in Such Pretty Flowers. Got some body horror, a dastardly villainess, things growing inside of people and a mouse, and tea and wine our protagonist would be better off not drinking. I shouted at her, "Don't drink that!" but shouting at fictional characters does no good.

Speaking of the protagonist, she isn't very interesting. I wanted her to take up a hobby beyond drinking questionable tinctures. Well, she had a fear of irregular circles, but that's a lousy conversation starter. Maybe not. I'd probably talk to somebody who is afraid of lily pad pods.

So, we have this original idea, but the characters keep doing unoriginal things. Every character managed to roll their eyeballs, smirk, bite their lips (one of them until she tasted blood which I swear is in every book I read lately.) Even a statue of a cherub had a smirk!

I have crawled on my knees to beg editors to erase all the eyeball rolling, smirking, and lip biting. I have burned out two smirk-o-meters and three eyeball-roll-o-meters. And yet, it continues.

Four stars for originality of plot, but one star for the use of the same ol' same ol' that everybody seems to be using.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bantam for allowing me to read and review an eARC of Such Pretty Flowers.

Nice cover. It was actually roses that were the trouble makers.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Adolescent Hormones Gone Amuck. And What is That Purple Stuff? Can I Have Some? Review of My Dear Henry: A Jekyll and Hyde Remix

 Most of us don't think of the word "charming" when reading a horror novel but I found My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix to be that. The romance novel term "sweet" applies to this as sex is limited to handholding and a little kiss. There are monsters. How could it be a horror book without them.? The monsters here, though, were a couple of vile humans.

I liked all the nice characters and booed the nasty characters. What I really liked was that the nice characters got along. No insults, no snarking, no cursing that you usually find in YA. Friends were friends and didn't feel the need for put-down humor. There was a lot of eyeball rolling but that seems par for the course in YA anymore. Did Victorians roll their eyes like 21st century people?

The author supplies historical information at the end. As a history buff, I enjoy reading those.

Thank you to Feiwel and Friends and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review My Dear Henry.

Nice Cover. I wonder if he's available.

Friday, November 4, 2022

What Happens to Hannah is Absolutely the Worst. A Review of Tell Me I'm Worthless

 Tell Me I'm Worthless, to paraphrase Whitman, contains multitudes. I scarcely know where to begin. The novel deals with gender identity, fascism, horror, mental illness, imperialism, capitalism, sexism, racism and people who pay money to be told they're worthless. Did I leave anything out? Probably.

At first, I thought Alice was mentally ill. Her rock-star poster likes to insult her, and her bedroom walls enjoy closing in. But several people together usually don't hallucinate the same things, which is where the horror comes in. A house, not haunted but a living creature itself, consumes the minds of the three major characters. Then it does worse. 

Several times in the book there are run-on sentences that go on for pages. I understand this is an entirely different kind of novel, never-the-less, the run-on sentences become annoying. I'm knocking a star off for this. There's a reason run-on sentences are considered hard to read.

Blood, gore, brutal sex, torture, self-doubt and confusion. There is no letup. There is no moment of repose. There is no happy ending. A book for horror fans who like the blood to splatter.

Thank you to Tor/Forge and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review Tell Me I'm Worthless.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Poke Your Eye Out With a Sharp Stick. A Review of Doctor Ice Pick.


I read a lot of horror, but the most horrifying thing is what real people do to others. There's a reason Freeman was known as Dr. Ice Pick (though he wasn't actually a doctor.) He performed lobotomies by inserting an ice pick above his patients' (victims') tear ducts, then wiggles the ice pick around until he severed the frontal lobe. Some patients bled to death, some turned into shadows of their former selves, most became incontinent. And most, this is sad, never consented to the operation.

This is a nonfiction book. If you're interested in how awful someone can be to helpless people, check Doctor Ice Pick out.